Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A to Z: Developmental Edits & April IWSG

2017 THEME: Editing Fiction (Because that's what I'm in the middle of doing.)

What is the Blogging from A to Z challenge and where can I find more participants? Right here.



A Developmental edit is likely the first type of edit you'll get back from your editor if you're going through a publisher. This edit will focus on the broader areas of plot, character, motivations and making sure everything is adequately described. That last one being where most of the comments come in on my stuff.

This is by far my favorite stage of editing, both on the giving and receiving end. This is the time to address all those questions you have in your head as you read. Why is the character doing this? What does this room actually look like? How can this thing happen when X and Y don't line up?

As the writer, you think you have this all covered. Everything makes sense to you. You can see the setting clearly in your head. You know the characters like your best friends. Your critique partners have probably read this story a couple times. Their eyes may have caught some of these issues on the first pass, but there are always more. More areas where the story can be fleshed out, or, in some cases, trimmed up.

For me, the dev edit is where the magic happens. When all the little story holes get pretty plugs, those bits that niggled at you, that maybe you weren't quite sure if they worked, get solidified and clarified and you either can confirm that new eyeballs see what is in your head, or fix it so that they can. This is where all your notes and discarded scenes get their last chance and maybe making it into the story. Sometimes I cut something in my own edits, seeing that it's slowing the story down or just doesn't fit in, but those new eyes ask a question that relates to what I removed. I still have that information. I just need to find the right place and way to work it back in.

Do you dread getting edits back on your work or enjoy the process?

Hey, it's also the first Wednesday of the month! You know what that means...
it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.

This month's question is: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Other than providing a links to my published books, which are right over there along the left if you're interested <=== , no, I haven't really gone that route. Not that I wouldn't do that, because all the increased traffic is a wonderful boost, but the timing just hasn't worked out for me. I was happy enough to mesh the beta reading period for The Last God and A to Z, leaving me not entangled in edits while trying to engage in all the commenting and visiting that A to Z is about.

Since we are on the topic, if anyone is interested in doing letting me do a guest post on your blog to help promote either of my new books when they are ready to release in the upcoming months, please let me know in the comments (or my email is on the contact page) and we'll connect. The Last God is a sci-fi romance and Trust is science fiction. Conversely if you have anything new (that falls under speculative fiction) coming out soon, I welcome guest posts here as well.

I hope you're enjoying A to Z, and for those of you promoting your books this month, may you have many sales!

I'd love to visit your blog and see what you're up to with the A to Z Challenge. Please be sure to leave a link with your comment.


23 comments:

  1. I kind of love some edits, but dread them anyway, because usually I knew what my editor was going to say and it involves a whole load of work :) LOL
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves

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    1. Very true, but that work makes the story even better. Which makes all the aggravation worth it in the end. Maybe not ALL the aggravation. ;)

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    1. It is a a lot more work than a lot of people tend to think. If it were only to simple as writing until you type The End...

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  3. I love your attitude about development edits. It's true that a good dev edit will take an okay manuscript to amazing. And I love helping my clients do that. I wish more indie authors saw the benefit of the investment, because I've picked up more than a few titles that could have used the TLC to make their concept really shine.

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    1. In working with several other indie authors, I have to agree that more could use it. Though I've also learned that many authors don't want to hear that their work isn't ready. With publishing being so easy, hitting that publish button and racing off to write the next thing is a big temptation.

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  4. Good topic! I haven't gone through a developmental edit and I'm not sure I could remain as positive and objective as you. LOL!

    D: Dominica & D-Day Museum
    DB McNicol, author & traveler
    Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

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    1. The first one is tough but once you've lived through it and seen the benefits, you realize its all part of making a story the best that it can be.

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  5. Having gone through one dev edit, I have to admit that it is fun! It's seeing your story through another person's eyes and taking those comments and running with it to make your MS even better.

    It did take me a little time to warm up, put on my big girl pants and get to work, but the reward at the end was worth it!

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  6. Hi, Jean! I'm visiting today as an IWSG co-host. I really enjoyed your post, and I will be back to check out your A-Z posts. Your theme looks really interesting! I don't participate in the A to Z, but further down the road I may. I like those final edits too. I've written smaller pieces but never a book. Right now I'm working on a memoir. Thanks for posting today. Happy writing in April!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your memoir.

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  7. Hi Jean - I guess developmental edits are par for the course in novel writing ... plugging the holes and seeing a fuller picture must gladden the spirits. A-Z is a-going on ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/d-is-for-ducks-dabbling-diving-domestic.html

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    1. That they are. I'm enjoying your animal posts!

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  8. Hello, Jean. I enjoy getting and giving developmental edits, though sometimes I feel that dreaded "thunk" in my soul when I realize that a plot/character issue I've been trying to ignore must be addressed. Ah well. I want my stories to be as polished and powerful as possible, so I thank my critique partners and ponder their advice.

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    1. I think it's safe to say we all get that feeling. I've try to squeak things by that, in the back of my mind, I know I'm going to get called out on too. Sometimes we just need those edits to show us the way around the roadblock we settled on the first time around.

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  9. This is interesting as so often we hear about trimming and stripping away scenes when editing, but under-explanation can be a problem too. Shows we should always keep those deleted scenes just in case. I'll be happy to host for either book.

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    1. Thanks, Nick! I'll take up on that when the time comes. I'm enjoying getting to know your characters. :)

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  10. I don't dread getting the edits back. I enjoy it. I always look forward to getting the professional's opinion. Likewise I look forward to the critique partner and beta reader comments beforehand. Every one of them brings something different to the table—something to point out that'll improve the story.

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  11. I didn't know that's what these were called. Interesting. They're definitely significant.

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  12. Such an important step in the writing process. I have only been on the giving end a couple of times. Interesting process and enjoyable.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador

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  13. I like this kind of editing, both doing it and getting the edit back on my own work, because, usually, when I send my stuff off to my editor, there is something niggling, something I'm not quite happy with, but am not sure what it is, and, usually, there it is, staring me in the face when the edits come back and then things suddenly feel right. :)
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

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  14. The timing for A to Z hasn't been right for me, either, Jean. But I understand a lot of people get a lot of of it. More power to them. If you'd like a guest spot on my blog email me at dmburton72 at gmail.com. I'm on the road but I'll get back to you this weekend. Best wishes.

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